Utah Quarterback and Wide Receivers vs Arizona Secondary
Troy Williams continues his solid play despite an inconsistent performance last week. Maybe that was due to him playing only half the game with his best receiver and the entire game without his second best receiver. Still, he wasn't at his best in missing on more passes than he normally does and not placing the ball well for much of the game. The standard has been raised for a Utah quarterback though with Williams, as he's still been very effective as a whole this season with 6 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and throwing for 260 yards per contest. Will Tim Patrick play? If he doesn't, that's a big blow to the receiving corps as Patrick has been by far the most productive receiver the Utes have had this season with 24 catches for 85 yards per game and 5 touchdowns. He's the more complete receiver they've had since joining the Pac 12. Cory Butler-Byrd is also questionable this week, but is still 4th on the team in catches with 9, despite playing in only 2 games. Raelon Singleton broke out last week and is an emerging weapon in a variety of ways, while Kyle Fulks, Siaosi Wilson, Demari Simpkins, and if healthy, Tyrone Smith, round out group that is looking more and more complete.
Sophomore safety Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles leads the secondary with a team-leader 27 tackles. while hauling in 2 interceptions and 3 passes defended. He's got good size at 6-3, 200 pounds. Next time him is junior Jarvis McCall who also has good size and 1 interception on the season. Senior Tellas Jones plays a combo safety-linebacker role and has 9 tackles. The corners are big junior Dane Cruikshank and the extremely athletic senior in DaVonte' Neal. Both have already knocked down 4 passes this season and contribute to a secondary that gives up 275 yards per game.
Utah Running Backs and Tight Ends vs Arizona Linebackers
It'll be Armand Shyne getting the start this week after his bruising 99 yard performance last week. He'll be spelled often by Zack Moss throughout the game as the Utes continue to use their thunder and thunder backfield. Troy McCormick played sparingly last week after getting nicked up and has been sparsely use in the run game, making his biggest impact as a receiver with 8 grabs on the season. Together Utah is rushing for 174 yards per game, but it's coming at only 4 yards per pop. That's due largely in part to a lack of big run plays. Evan Moeia has emerged as the go-to tight end hauling in 10 passes on the season. Harrison Handley has battled through some wear and tear that has limited his impact as a pass catcher.
Middle linebacker Cody Ippolito is a former Utah commit and the leader of the linebacking corps. He has 23 tackles on the season with 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. DeAndre Miller has been a bit hobbled, but is an athletic rush outside linebacker with 2 sacks. Paul Magloire has 23 tackles on the year with Michael Barton tallying 26. It's a veteran experienced group that has been average against the run in giving up 183 yards per game.
Utah Offensive Line vs Arizona Defensive Line
The loss of JJ Dielman is a tough blow for a Utes offensive line that was playing better and better with each game. His departure against Cal saw an overall step back as a group as they lost their leader. If it's Lo Falemaka again this week, he'll need to be cognizant of what's in front of him, and will need to improve his blocking as it was apparent that the poor first snap was in his head the entire game and he put too much focus on it. If it's not Lo, you're likely to see either Nick Nowakowski, Isaac Asiata, or even Sam Tevi, if you want to get your 5 best on the line, allowing Jackson Barton to grab the right tackle spot. If it's Asiata, you can expect either Tevi to grab the left guard spot and Barton to take Tevi's spot, or Darrin Paulo to step in. Either way, Utah needs to find the right fit before they hit the meat of their Pac 12 schedule.
Nose tackle Parker Zellers is the big man in the middle, but he's not very big at only 6-1, 248 pounds. That's severely undersized for a guy that is supposed to anchor the middle. Next to him you'd think they'd have some bulk to counter, but Sani Fuimaono is only 6-1 267 while Justin Belknap is 6-2, 247. As a group they've combined for 3 sacks. Utah's much bigger offensive line should be able to move them backwards consistently.